Trade has long ago moved from offline world to e-commerce and many of us have either heard of, or used services of the following companies.
Now, one might think that he or she knows all the companies listed, but only the giants have caught your eye since there are many more e-commerce companies whose net worth is measured in billions. They are not all Western; and no, Alibaba is not the only Chinese success story:
Founded in 1994 in Seattle by now immortal Jeff Bezos, Amazon has in the years since become a household name when it comes to online shopping. This internet company today has the largest revenue in the world, but its beginnings were humble. It was initially not more than an online bookstore.
Take a look at this interview with Jeff Bezos from 1999 and see how unpredictable things were back then.
Amazon was diversifying the scope of products it sold online in the following years. Who says books aren’t profitable!
Bezos can recall the title of the actual first book he sold from his garage in July 1995: Fluid Concepts & Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought.
This e-commerce company operating from Beijing is the first of three major Chinese companies we list here. Rivaled by the more popular Alibaba, Jingdong has well over quarter of a billion registered users as of 2018. It was founded in 1998 and started trading online six years later. Today, the company brandishes its high tech delivery system, comprised of robots, AI, and a fleet of drones.
Now, if we measure market capitalization, JD.com is significantly smaller than Alibaba. However, if we benchmark it by the revenue in last year, JD.com had over $15B more. If we are comparing the number of employees, JD.com has over 137.000 while Alibaba currently has a little over 65.000.
Jingdong are so tech crazy, they have plans to build drone airports, flight training and even flight control for drones who deliver goods. They have teamed up with scientists to design drones that could carry freights weighing up to one metric ton!
Few people haven’t heard of Jack Ma’s success story. The Chinese business magnate’s life is a riches-to-rags story. Having been rejected from more than 30 job posts in the early 1990s, he started making websites for companies with his wife and a friend. The business grew exponentially and in the year 1999, Alibaba Group was founded, the world’s largest retailer of present-day, operating in more than 200 countries.
Jack Ma once asked a random waitress in a San Francisco bar what’s her first association to the name Ali Baba, and she replied: “Open Sesame.” Ma saw it as a perfect symbol of the opportunities and jobs his company could open for small businesses. Plus, it’s catchy, easy to pronounce and known across the world.
The eBay’s beloved red-blue-green-yellow logo is for many a symbol of the 1990s and for a good reason. It was one of the first successful dot-com bubble companies that epitomized online shopping. The company was founded in San Hose, California in 1995 and its most distinctive feature is the online auction feature, alongside a conventional buy-it-now shopping option.
Once a whole town was sold on eBay! It happened in 2012 when two Vietnamese buyers purchased the township of Buford in Wyoming for the sum of little under one million dollars.
After a brief spell of American companies, we return to the Far East. Rakuten is a Japanese e-commerce company launched in 1997. They operate Japan’s largest online bank, in addition to online shopping and credit card payments. In all, Rakuten Group runs some 70 businesses, ranging from widely used instant messaging app Viber (as 2017 officially known as Rakuten Viber) to having their logo on FC Barcelona’s jerseys.
Rakuten partnered up with Walmart in Japan to deliver groceries which can be purchased online and delivered to the user’s doorstep through a Walmart-Rakuten joint venture.
This Brazilian based online retail company is the largest of its kind in Latin America. B2W Companhia Digital holds a market share of 50%. It was founded in 2006 and is highly competitive, owning numerous shopping sites. B2W has recently announced a move into the US market.
B2W Digital’s brands Americanas.com, Submarino, Shoptime, SouBarato, Digital Finance, Submarino Finance and B2W Services boast a wide range of services, including, but not limited to: telesales, catalogs, TV, internet and newsstands distribution channels.
Surprisingly enough, this the first European company we list.
Zalando’s headquarters are in Berlin and they predominantly have online stores that sell fashion items, such as apparel and shoes. Their logo resembles an orange guitar pick.
In 2010, when Zalando moved into its first non-German speaking market, an awkward thing happened. Its successful slogan “Scream with Joy” did not win over the Dutch audience who deemed it as one of the worst advertisements ever recorded.
This American e-commerce marketplace launched in Chicago in 2008 reshaped the concept of group discount online shopping. It connects its subscribers to local businesses in one of 500 cities worldwide. The principle is simple: users get a discount and business owners increase the revenue; it’s a win-win situation.
In 2012, CBS created a sitcom about two guys working in Groupon called Friend Me. The show never aired and was canceled a year later.
Having listed all the companies, we can notice that they are evenly distributed geographically, covering every corner of the globe. Regardless of where you live, if you decide to purchase something online, you will inevitably come into contact with some of these enterprises.
November 14, 2019
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